Hopscotch Design Festival Highlights

Elle Luna

Elle headlined the Hopscotch Design Festival, a two-day gathering tacked on to the now five year-old Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC. I could not have imagined a better way to kick off the event than to hear Elle delve deeper into “The Crossroads of Should and Must,” which she posted as an article to Medium in April. A must read, “The Crossroads of Should and Must,” reminds us why we can’t let our innermost voice be silenced.

Previously, Elle worked at IDEO, Uber, and Medium and is now a dedicated painter and artist.

See more of her work and musings at elleluna.com.


Sha Hwang

Easily the most heartfelt and sincere talks we attended, Sha is part of the healthcare.gov “Trauma Team,” tasked with fixing the site after its infamous launch. He spoke about this project while also philosophizing about the roles that technology and systems play in our lives. I appreciated his thoughtful approach. It was apparent that he took the time to craft a talk that explored not just the what but the why behind his work.

I’m currently reading, “Drive,” and since it focuses on motivation, his thoughts on how his team was able to incentivize the dozens of contractors who contributed to healthcare.gov was illuminating. His work is a mix of data visualization with interaction design. Above, is an example of a project he did for Flickr, creating a clock based on user images.

See more of his work at postarchitectural.com.


Annie Atkins

I had been looking forward to Annie’s talk since I am a big Wes Anderson fan and she worked on the Grand Budapest Hotel. A graphic designer, Annie works on films creating the graphic pieces that are at once props for actors to use while at the same time becoming part of the set and even characters themselves. She illustrated her job very well through video clips and then a discussion afterwards of each of the designed pieces necessary for that clip.

Imagine creating a postage stamp or addressing a letter using the appropriate pen for a piece of mail that sits on a character’s desk. As she explained, even if it is never shown in the movie, her job is to create the context and atmosphere for the actors to immerse themselves in.

At the end of her talk, she played a trailer for The Boxtrolls, an animated movie coming out this month that she worked on.

See more of her work at annieatkins.com.


Harper Reed

Harper opened up the second day of the festival. Previously the CTO of Threadless, one of my favorite places to buy gifts for Paul…he was the CTO of Obama for America, responsible for the internal as well as external technology that helped to get President Obama reelected. You can thank him for the fundraising emails if you received them…or continue to receive them!

It was fascinating to hear about what went into the ground-breaking technology strategy of the campaign. One of the takeaways was to always plan for failure…not just plan but actually practice failing in order to test systems and develop troubleshooting strategies. This reminded me of reading about Castro during the Cold War. He would plan power outages in order to prepare the population to carry on business without power.

Learn more about Harper at harperreed.com.


Brian Singer

Currently at Pinterest, Brian was also the creator of The 1000 Journals Project, which has since spawned books and a documentary. I was excited to hear about this participatory art project (he is facilitating journals with children in hospitals now) as well as to see more of his personal work.

One personal project that stood out for me was his “You are_____for the economy.” As the example above shows, he researched the actual forces that are good or bad for the economy. The original pieces are made from scraps of posters he reclaimed from telephone polls around San Francisco and then screen printed on and mounted to plywood. The messages include, “Crime is good for the economy,” “Nature is bad for the economy,” and “Obesity is good for the economy.” He also made these statements into posters and stickers (which I gladly took when they were handed to me).

I especially like his Twit Spotting project that calls out people who text and drive. Not only did he post photos of them caught red-handed online, he also paid for billboards to be made of the images to raise awareness of this dangerous epidemic.

See more of his work at iamsomeguy.com.



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One response to “Hopscotch Design Festival Highlights”

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs says :

    i followed your prompts and have enjoyed looking at your new site. wow, it is highly visual and very well done! congrats! lisa

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